Y Garn is a fantastic mountain sitting at the northern end of The Glyderau mountain range in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. These huge, dark and rocky mountains provide the most exciting mountain playground in Wales. This walk starts from Pont Pen-y-benglog at the western end of Llyn Ogwen in the Ogwen Valley. Here you will find the National Trust's Ogwen Cottage and the National Park's Ogwen Partnership Centre. There is some layby parking along the A5 and a pay and display car park with cafe and toilets.
The walk takes you to the shores of the beautiful Llyn Idwal sitting in the huge glacial amphitheatre of Cwm Idwal, then up the exciting north east ridge of Y Garn. The views from which are incredible. The tricky descent takes you by the infamous Devil's Kitchen into Cwm Idwal to complete an amazing circular hike that has it all. A great half day walk with easy access. There are pubs and cafes in Bethesda and Capel Curig for food and drink on your way home.
This walk starts from Pont Pen-y-benglog at the western end of Llyn Ogwen in the Ogwen Valley. Here you will find the National Trust's Ogwen Cottage and the National Park's Ogwen Partnership Centre. There is some layby parking along the A5 and a pay and display car park with cafe and toilets. To get there leave the A55 at junction 11 for Bangor. Follow the A5 towards Betws-y-Coed. After passing through the slate town of Bethesda the A5 rises through the stunning Nant Ffrancon Valley to reach Llyn Ogwen. If approaching from the south follow the A5 north from Capel Curig towards Bangor until you reach the western end of Llyn Ogwen. Click here to view on Google maps where you can also get directions.
Follow the footpath to the left of the National Park's Ogwen Partnership Centre, sign posted to Llyn Idwal. The path heads through an iron gate before crossing a footbridge over the Afon Idwal at the Rhaeadr Idwal waterfall. Follow the well laid path as it heads south east then switches back on itself to head south west to Llyn Idwal.
After taking in the stunning scenery of Llyn Idwal and Cwm Idwal cross the footbridge over the Afon Idwal then head west along the northern shore of Llyn Idwal. Once you reach the northern tip of Llyn Idwal follow a path which heads off to the right ascending to a gate in a stone wall. Go through the gate and follow the path up a fairly steep ascent route.
North East Ridge
After a fairly sharp climb you will top out at a flat section where you can see into the glacial hollow of Cwm Clyd. On your right is the north east ridge of Y Garn. The first section is fairly steep and loose in places. The ridge is often exposed to strong cross winds. In some places you can avoid them by staying to one side of the crest. The final section of the ridge is steep but you will be surprised how quickly you reach the top.
North East Ridge
At the top of the ridge turn left to head south along the plateau. You will reach the summit of Y Garn after a hundred metres. The summit of Y Garn has a rocky outcrop with a small circular rock shelter. The views from the summit on a clear day are incredible. Looking over Cwm Clyd and Cwm Idwal towards Llyn Ogwen and the Ogwen Valley you will see Pen yr Ole Wen and the rest of the Carneddau range. To the north west the pointy Elidir Fawr. To the south east the rest of the Glyderau Range including Tryfan. To the south the unmistakable Snowdon.
Y Garn Summit
To descend Y Garn head south then south east down the long slopes to eventually reach a stile crossing a fence. Cross the stile and head in the same south to south east direction on the obvious path until you reach Llyn y Cwn. When you reach Llyn y Cwn turn left and walk round it until you reach its eastern side. Where the path splits take the one on the left which descends in a north easterly direction towards the Devil's Kitchen. The descent path widens and eventually reaches a stile over a stone wall.
Below the stile over the stone wall the path turns left and descends what is a tricky path when wet or in winter conditions. Most of the rocks are large giving good footing but there are a few loose areas too. The path eventually reaches the bottom of the incredible Devil's Kitchen. After admiring or looking frightfully at the foreboding Devil's Kitchen the path continues its tricky descent towards Llyn Idwal. The view here over Llyn Idwal towards Pen yr Ole Wen is absolutely breathtaking. The path crosses a slate slab bridge then levels out as it passes the famous climbing slopes of The Idwal Slabs.
Follow the path along the eastern shore of Llyn Idwal. You will eventually reach the well laid path you came up earlier. Turn right along that path and make your way back to the car park crossing the footbridge over the Afon Idwal at the Rhaeadr Idwal waterfall. There are places to eat and drink in Bethesda or Capel Curig, depending on which way you head home.